The holiday season also means holiday office party season to celebrate another year of success and productivity. These annual company-wide events are comprised of fancy dinners, open bars, as well as a DJ and a dance floor.
But in recent years, many companies have scaled back on certain aspects of their holiday party, whether it’s limiting the number of alcoholic beverages each person receives or hosting the event on a weekday during work hours. However, many others have canceled the event altogether.
The main reason isn’t to save money. Rather, it’s to avoid being subject to a civil lawsuit and firing an employee for alleged sexual misconduct.
Ever since dozens of women forced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein out of the industry in October 2017 by bringing to light decades worth of sexual assault and harassment allegations, thus starting the #MeToo movement. Now, women and even men in all types of workplaces have been more vocal in calling out inappropriate behavior of their employers and fellow employees.
If you are planning to attend your holiday office party, remember that any form of sexual misconduct can not only lead to job termination, but it can also potentially result in criminal charges.
The following are several things to remember and follow when you attend your company’s holiday party:
- Limit alcohol consumption – If there is an open bar at your party, keep tabs on how much you drink throughout the night to avoid becoming heavily intoxicated. Alcohol consumption causes people to drop their guards and behave less professionally compared to your typically office-related activity. You are more likely to do or say something you will regret the next day.
- Do not touch – Shaking someone’s hand or even tapping someone’s shoulder is perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, touching, holding, or rubbing another person anywhere below the shoulder is unacceptable. If there is dancing involved, stay within an arm’s length away from your dance partner.
- Do not flirt – Let’s say you see your female coworker and wish to tell her how beautiful she looks or how nice she smells tonight. Now imagine if it was your mother wearing that dress or perfume, would you say the same thing? Probably not. Simply keep such flirtatious comments to yourself.